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Since the dawn of human time, people have described certain places as being holy or magical, as having a concentrated power or presence of spirit. Ancient legends, historical records and contemporary reports tell of extraordinary, even miraculous happenings at these places.

Devotional sentiments permeate throughout sacred places. In the current quiz, we have picked up such sacred spots from different religions; the special feature, however, is that the sites chosen here are based on a sacred water resource associated with these holy shrines than for any other reason.

1. For centuries, Lake Manasarovar has been considered as a sacred lake by followers of Buddhism Literally, Lake Manasarovar means 'everlasting jade lake' in the Tibetan language. Buddhists also associate the lake to where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived Buddha. The lake has a few monasteries on its shores.

In the Buddhist scriptures, what is this lake also named as?


2. Lourdes has developed into a major place of Christian pilgrimage and is visited by millions of pilgrims each year.

Lourdes water flows from a spring in the Grotto of Massabielle in France. The water has become a focus of devotion to the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. Ever since Her apparitions, many people have claimed to have been cured by drinking or bathing in it.

While the pilgrims are invited to wash and drink while walking, what else are they invited to do?


3. Hemkund Sahib, the sacred and most revered shrine of Sikhs is situated on a very high altitude along the banks of Lake Hemkund.

The holy lake is associated with one of the ten Sikh Gurus who in his autobiographical poem ‘Bichittar Natak’, wrote that in his previous life he meditated on the shore of a lake that was surrounded by seven snow-capped mountains. The bank of the Hemkund Lake is believed to be this place. A dip in the waters of the lake is considered sacred by the Sikhs.

To which one of the ten Sikh Guru is this sacred lake associated with?


4. The Well of Zamzam is a sacred well located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca, near the Kaaba, the holiest place in Islam.

According to Islamic belief, it was a miraculously-generated source of water from Allah (God), which began thousands of years ago when Ibrahim's infant son Ishmael was thirsty and kept crying for water and his wife Hajar was desperately seeking water for their infant son, but could find none, as Mecca is located in a hot dry valley with few other sources of water.

How did the miracle of the sacred water suddenly springing out of the land take place?

5. Historically and religiously, the Jordan River is considered to be one of the world's most sacred rivers. There are countless references to the Jordan in the Hebrew Bible for its significance as also the baptizing place of Christ.

The Jordan River is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis where its flourishing grounds are likened to those of the "Garden of God" (13:10). In the Book of Joshua it is said that, like the Red Sea, the Jordan River parted before the Israelites so that they could cross it and enter the Promised Land.

How do the Jews view the crossing of the Jordan River as?

6. The long riverfront of Yamuna has a plethora of fascinating rows of temples. One of the most famous and magnificent cities of ancient India, Shaouripur, is considered to be a famous Jain pilgrimage centre and became sacred because one of the great and omniscient Jain teachers Lord Neminath, was born here.

The Yamuna is considered one of the most sacred rivers in India. According to the legends, Yamuna was the daughter of Surya, the Sun God, and a sister of Yama, the God of Death. Consequently, popular belief is that those who take a dip in its holy waters are not tormented by fears of death.

With which other sacred River does the Holy Yamuna River finally merge in?


7. Bahá'í’s consider the Tigris River as very sacred to them because it was here that before leaving Baghdad for Constantinople (Istanbul), Bahá’u’lláh and his companions camped in a garden on the banks of the Tigris River for twelve days. While meditating on the banks of the Tigris River, Baha'u'llah revealed some "gem-like utterances".

What did Bahá’u’lláh say to his companions on this sacred Tigris River that changed the course of their lives forever?


8. Zarathushtra wandered about in search of the Truth for ten long years. He wandered through the land, studying the mysteries of nature. One day, he came to the river Daiti. As he crossed it, his body submerged into the water - first upto his knees, then upto his waist, then his neck, but no further. When he reached the other side, he stepped out, glowing with a new light.

What miraculous episode took place at this Daiti River that it became deemed as sacred?


9. The Ganges River is one of the longest rivers in the world. It has long been considered a holy river by Hindus and worshipped as the Goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It is repeatedly invoked in the Vedas, the Puranas, and the two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

According to Hindu religion a very famous king did penance for many years constantly to bring the river Ganga, then residing in the Heavens, down on the Earth to find salvation for his ancestors, who were cursed by a seer.

How did he finally succeed to have the sacred Ganga River be brought down to Earth?


10. All Sai devotees know about the famous Chitravati River, on the bank of which is located Puttaparthi. In our November 2003 H2H issue, Professor G. Venkataraman shares with us an unprecedented event that took place in 1973 that revealed Swami’s Infinite powers:

Sai Baba used to take the devotees out almost daily to the sands of the Chitravathi River, and prayers were held there under the stars with the hills as venerable listeners and the river murmuring response. ...Sitting on the sands, Sai Baba teaches the devotees new songs He has composed for their elevation and edification, and He encourages people to ask Him any questions regarding spiritual matters, for which He gives satisfying answers.

Swami has the power to control Nature but He rarely interferes with natural phenomena. His argument is very simple. He says, "I have ordained the forces of Nature and they have their duties to perform. However, when it becomes absolutely essential for the welfare of mankind, I intervene in a benign manner."…That year, thanks to very heavy rain, there was an unprecedented flood in the Chitravathi River.

When the waters of the Chitravathi River were almost threatening to enter the Ashram premises, how did our compassionate Bhagavan make the waters recede?


Dear Reader, did you like this quiz? Is it too difficult? Is it interactive enough? Would you like more such quizzes? Please help us in serving you better by writing to mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 7 Issue 06 - JUNE 2009
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